Anela Akiona diving underwater
Anela Akiona

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and University of Hawaiʻi Hilo graduate students have been selected as conservation fellows, funded by Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation. These students were chosen because of their strong academic records as undergraduates, their connections to and integration with the local conservation community, their passion for the ʻāina and keen interest in preserving and protecting shared and limited natural resources and their commitment to career and future efforts to preserve and sustain their local environment.

The two-year fellowships for Hawaiʻi high school graduates, which include tuition exemption, regular stipend and funds for professional development, will help increase the number of qualified Hawaiʻi students and professionals pursuing environmental resource management careers.

Janis Reischmann, executive director of Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation commented, “Our support of graduate assistantships at the university stems from our belief that the future of Hawaiʻi’s environment depends upon a new generation of natural resource managers who have strong ties to the communities in which conservation work is occurring or needed. We are excited by the chosen careers of past fellows and look forward to the contributions which will be made by current and future Hauʻoli Mau Loa Fellows.”

Anela Akiona, Hawaiian fisheries management

Anela Akiona, one of this year’s fellows, is pursuing a marine biology master of science degree in Erik Franklin’s lab at the UH Mānoa Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). She has a passion for science that leads to sustainable management of Hawaiian marine resources.

Akiona is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and received a bachelor of arts degree in marine science with a minor in mathematics from the University of San Diego. The support provided by the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation Fellowship has enabled Akiona to return home to Oʻahu to study the dynamics and management of Hawaiian fisheries.

“I am very humbled and grateful to be receiving support from the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation” said Akiona. “Not only has this scholarship lifted the huge burden of paying for school, but it has also provided funds for professional development, such as scientific dive training and travel to national conferences. The learning experiences I have and connections I make with support from the HML Fellowship will certainly become invaluable as I move forward in my career. It is so important for local students to have access to these sorts of scholarships, and I am honored to be a recipient.”

The Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation Fellowship will be a key component of her journey to become a respected and successful caretaker of Hawaiʻi’s marine resources.

Aka Beebe

Aka Beebe, fishpond food web dynamics

Aka Beebe, another fellow in this year’s cohort, earned a bachelor of science degree in global environmental science in SOEST this past May. Also a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, he is deeply committed to maintaining traditional cultural practices and utilizing more contemporary methods to understand how systems developed by our kūpuna (ancestors) function and should continue to function in the context of urbanization of Hawaiian watersheds.

This kuleana (responsibility) to care for and steward the ʻāina is inspired by his two young children.

The fellowship will enable Beebe to investigate how restoration at Heʻeia Fishpond on Oʻahu affects nutrient cycling and productivity of the food web from microbes to fish within the master’s program in oceanography.

“I’m excited about continuing my research and academics with Assistant Professor Rosie Alegado’s lab and the Department of Oceanography. It is an honor to receive the HML Fellowship and I hope that this is something that is extended to the people of Hawaiʻi in the future,” said Beebe.

2016 Conservation Fellows cohort

In addition to Akiona and Beebe, Timothy Kroessig (UH Mānoa College of Natural Science); Stacey Torigoe, Natalie Andreyka, Kelly-Rose Lariosa, Casey Ching, Jared Char (all at UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources); and Christopher Kluzak, Kaikea Nakachi, Kailey Pascoe (all at UH Hilo Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science) are in this year’s cohort of Hauʻoli Mau Loa Fellows.

Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation’s investment in these fellows to build Hawaiʻi’s pipeline of a new generation of environmental resource managers is part of their comprehensive strategy in their environment program in promoting stewardship, preservation and protection of the natural environment in Hawaiʻi.

More about Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation

Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation established by Helga Glaesel-Hollenback. Established in 1990 Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation supports five program areas—youth, environment, affordable housing, humanitarian relief and “first generation partners.” In 2010 the foundation completed a research and planning process that led to two new areas of focus within its environmental program— invasive species prevention and environmental leadership pathways. This partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi will support the environmental leadership pathways focus.

—By Marcie Grabowski